No-contest elections don’t bode well for student association’s future
Opinions / February 27, 2013
Kwantlen, you’ve got a problem. Or rather, you could have one.
By The Runner
In the recent elections for the Kwantlen Student Association (KSA), only the position of international student representative was contested.
With no competition, everyone who ran will likely win their seat despite their qualifications (or lack thereof), positions on key issues, or even level of interest in what the KSA does.
Also uncontested was the senate election, with only four people applying for four seats. Those new senators will automatically have voting rights on the KSA board when they take office in September, if they choose to.
If you’re not sure what the KSA does, you’re not alone. Neither do some of its new additions. To put it briefly, they are responsible for student life on campus. They provide services, host events, and hold an awful lot of meetings to make sure your time spent outside the classroom is positive.
And they do it all with a multi-million dollar budget, made up almost entirely from fees that come from the pockets of students.
To reiterate: these people, who may or may have been arbitrarily voted in, now have a monopoly on campus activities and the student activity budget. If that doesn’t raise alarms for students, perhaps a reminder of the corruption of previous councils might.
Unchecked, previous councils mismanaged millions of dollars from student fees. Not the least of these self-serving use of student money was the 2011 Cram Jam, which had a staggering cost of $125,692.79 and is nearly universally regarded as a colossal waste of money.
Of course, not every council member is out to steal from students. Some are just looking to pad their CVs or make future business connections. For them, the KSA is a means to an end, and the end has nothing to do with students or the school.
Is it worse to have multiple seats vacant because nobody ran for them, or to have those seats filled by students who aren’t even sure what the acronym KSA stands for, let alone what’s expected of them? Unfortunately, students can’t make the right choices if they have none to begin with.
Ultimately, the shortcomings of the council fall on the students. The Runner is committed to keeping an eye on the elected officials of the KSA and holding them accountable for their actions, but reporting on their screw-ups doesn’t guarantee they won’t happen. It is up to students to become more involved. Apply to sit on committees, join clubs, and educate yourself on the politics of Kwantlen so when the next election rolls around, the student body has a choice of credible and competent candidates.